In which countries will WeSpline be present?

Initially, our sales effort will target the US, Brazil, and Israel markets. Ultimately, we plan to be a global platform, with presence in every relevant country.

How is WeSpline different from Crunchbase?

Crunchbase is just a "static" database of innovative companies and people behind them. It is not a social network and therefore there is no interaction among players.

How is WeSpline different from AngelList (Angel.co)?

AngelList is a platform where angel investors (individuals) can find startups to invest in and where startups may post jobs and recruit people. It is not a social network. Also, to join WeSpline, angel investors would need to be associated with some legal entity such as an Equity Crowdfunding platform or an Angel Investment Hub.

How is WeSpline different from other social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn?

(i) WeSpline is a business-oriented social network for companies, which may create opportunities related to commercialization of technology, corporate investments, partnerships/JVs, and M&As, etc.,

(ii) Our focus is on the Tech / Innovation ecosystem,

(iii) Despite being a social network with a lot of information flow (Newsfeed) and communication capabilities, WeSpline will also offer an efficient advanced search feature, which will turn our platform into an “easy to retrieve” database too,

(iv) Our platform will be an “active player”, as we plan to (a) generate recommendations for companies (“Recommendations Portfolio”) via Artificial Intelligence algorithms, and (b) create engagement tools to facilitate the interaction among users,

(v) Our “Challenge” feature will allow entities to directly engage with Innovative Teams/Companies, Universities, and Hubs in order to address problems that need to be solved through new technologies yet to be developed,

(vi) Our Job Board will have a very specific focus on "high level" individuals and will also allow employers to search for whole teams, especially from “failing startups”.

What does WeSpline mean?

In Math, a Spline is a function that is piecewise-defined by polynomial functions, and which possesses a high degree of smoothness at the places where the polynomial pieces connect, which are called knots. In computer graphics, a spline is a curve that connects two or more specific points, or that is defined by two or more points. Therefore, WeSpline means “we connect points – or players – in a customized way”.

Where did this idea for the social network come from?

This idea came from the founder’s experience with technology intermediation. Since 2014, Dr. Toros has been traveling to Israel to learn about its high-tech ecosystem. In 2015, she organized a successful conference in Brazil called “Israeli Startups 2015: A High-Tech Look Into the Future”. In this conference, startups were invited to deliver 15-minute pitches to an audience of executives from big Brazilian corporations (potential clients), as well as potential Brazilian investors.

For more information, visit: https://www.sabracapitalbr.com/sabra-tech-hub. A 6-minute video clip of the conference is available at: https://youtu.be/-EfCeBCFV6U.

The conference created a “momentum” around which 1-on-1 meetings were scheduled and pilots were negotiated between “tech developers” and “tech adopters”. This “momentum” eventually died out and led us to two questions. How could we come up with a “conference that never ends”? Also, how can we do something different and disruptive at the same time? The idea for WeSpline came from trying to answer these questions.

Have WeSpline tested the demand for this service?

After interacting with Startups and Corporations in the context of the above-mentioned conference, we discussed WeSpline’s idea with some of these potential clients/users. They all gave a positive feedback and also ideas for some of the features we are developing at WeSpline.

Does the team have entrepreneurial experience?

Dr. Toros was the founder and CEO of Sabra Capital, an independent Asset Management company in Brazil. The company was founded in 2012 and eventually developed 3 lines of business: (i) ASSET MANAGEMENT: it managed vehicles that invested in Brazilian equities listed at Bovespa, (ii) SABRA TECH HUB: business intermediation between corporations and Israeli startups, (iii) SABRA ACADEMY: online courses and short videos related to Corporate Finance (in Portuguese).

WeSpline is currently located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Research Park and most of its tech team is made of faculty / students from the Computer Science department at this university. What is the track record of this university when it comes to creating innovation?

In fact, many famous tech companies have been founded by UIUC alumni, as the following sample shows:
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) — Jerry Sanders III (B.S. '58), Netscape — Eric Bina (B.S. '86, M.S. '88) and Marc Andreessen (B.S. '93), Oracle Corp — Larry Ellison (**) and Bob Miner (B.S. ‘63), PayPal — Luke Nosek (B.S. '96) and Max Levchin (B.S. '97), IronPort Systems (acquired by Cisco) — Scott Banister (*), Slide (acquired by Google)— Max Levchin (B.S. ‘97), Tesla Motors — Martin Eberhard (B.S. '81, M.S. '83), Xoom (acquired by Paypal) — Alan Braverman (B.S. '95), Yammer (acquired by Microsoft) — Alan Braverman (B.S. '95), Yelp — Russel Simmons (B.S. '98) and Jeremy Stoppelman (B.S. '99), Youtube (acquired by Google)—Jawed Karim (B.S. '04) and Steve Chen (B.S. '99), MessageMe (acquired by Yahoo)—Vivek Tatineni (B.S. '06), 
 “Tech companies started by University of Illinois alum”, by Ali Afridi. For a more complete list, please visit:
https://medium.com/hack-vc/tech-companies-started-by-university-of-illinois-alumni-6753327a0829#.bz2g1kjby